State Minister for Investment Gabriel Ajedra has defended the Public Private Partnership- PPP Bill currently before parliament. PPPs are long-term contractual arrangements between the public and private sector in which the private sector is responsible for the implementation of the significant aspects of the infrastructure.
PPPs are long-term contractual arrangements between the public and private sector in which the private sector is responsible for the implementation of the significant aspects of the infrastructure.
Appearing today before the Parliamentary Finance Committee which is reviewing the bill, Ajedra said in order for Uganda to realise its mission of having the private sector as an engine of growth, there is need to ensure that the arrangements of working with the private sector are supported by appropriate legal and institutional infrastructure.
The Minister said the absence of a law governing the involvement of private sector partners in the provision of public infrastructure has resulted in poor infrastructural implementation under public private partnerships.
The bill seeks to govern the relationships between government and the private party in public private partnerships and to provide for guidelines and procedures for the development of PPP projects.
It also seeks to provide for methods of procurement and the engagement of the private party in PPPs and to provide for roles and responsibilities of government bodies, project officers and the private party during the development and implementation of the PPP projects.
Ajedra asked the committee to consider the amendments that the ministry has proposed in order to bring the bill in line with the aspirations of Uganda and international best practice.
Among other amendments the ministry proposes that a new clause to cater for the cancellation of bids be introduced in the bill. Ajedra suggested that a clause-18 be added after clause 17 providing that a contracting authority may cancel a tender process at any time before the agreement is signed by an accounting officer.
He also suggested that a sub clause be added in clause 18 to provide for amendment of the PPP agreement, saying that an agreement may be amended by the parties provided that the minister has consented to the amendment.
Committee chairman Robert Kasule Ssebunya also said there is a need for a strong legislation to develop public private partnership projects. Ssebunya, the Kyaddondo North MP, told Uganda Radio Network that with a PPP law, government will be able to roll out as many infrastructure projects as possible since there will be full engagement of the private sector.
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He said his committee will expedite the review process so that parliament considers the bill and it is passed into law as early as possible. Existing public private partnership projects in Uganda include, Bujagali dam, power generation under Eskom, power distribution under Umeme and Serena Hotel among others.